The Lamb of God
“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” John says these words in today’s Gospel. We also hear them every time we attend Mass. We’re so used to these words that perhaps we have never really thought about them. If we did, we might think what a strange image the Lamb of God is. Imagine, a weak and passive animal is made the image of God’s victory over sin and death. Why not the Lion of God or the Tiger of God? This would have pleased those who expected the Saviour to be a Warrior King, a sort of a superhero. Instead they got a Lamb.
This is how God works sometimes. Like a lamb, love is vulnerable. It does not coerce. It is available and faithful. God sends a Lamb as a sign that love takes time to heal, to win over, to triumph. The paradox of a helpless Lamb who ultimately triumphs grabs our attention and helps us understand how God really functions on our behalf. Jesus’ approach to people was indeed more lamb-like than lion- or tiger-like. He was gentle. He did not impose his will on people because he respected their freedom. He invited rather than commanded. He was compassionate to the weak and the wounded. He chose the way of love and persuasion over the way of power and compulsion. It would have been easier to control rather than love people, but he came not to rule but to serve.
This Lamb is truly unique. The weak and vulnerable Lamb emerges as the one who triumphs in power and who takes away the sins of the world. Our hearts are elated when we hear St John the Baptist cry, “Behold the Lamb of God!” for only this Lamb can offer us mercy and grant us peace.